In this succulent recipe, lamb shoulder is braised in Syrah with kalamata
olives and dried sour cherries that have been soaked in red wine. The unusual
combination makes the sauce deliciously sweet and savory. © Tina Rupp
F&W food editors apply their incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.
Lamb shanks find themselves all over restaurant menus this time of year. Cooked low and slow, the luscious meat pulls effortlessly from the bone. When I’m craving something meaty and warming, I’ve recently turned to lamb shoulder chops, because they’re often even less expensive than shanks. Good butcher shops almost always have lamb shoulder and I’ve started to see it around supermarkets as well. The entire thing can be cooked whole—like in this Syrah-Braised Lamb Shoulder—but 1-inch thick chops will braise in a fraction of the time and they can even be grilled if you don’t mind a little bit of chew. When you can, buy the chops with the round bones in the center. They’re occasionally more expensive but they come with a little bonus: luscious marrow to flavor your sauce or spread on toast.
Mission Chinese Food chef Danny Bowien.
You don’t need me, or any chef in the world, to tell you the best ways to keep from gaining weight. They involve breakfast, balanced meals and exercise. Instead, I’ve become fascinated with the less obvious ways that chefs and other people who are constantly around food keep from packing on pounds. “I make [my manager] eat everything they send out. He’s the closer.” »
Photo © Johnny Miller
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of F&W’s Best New Chef awards, one of our biggest stars shares one of his most requested recipes.
Marc Vetri was named an F&W Best New Chef 1999 at Vetri Ristorante in Philadelphia. His restaurant empire now includes Amis Trattoria, Osteria and Alla Spina.
Carrot gnocchi. Squash gnocchi. Beet gnocchi. Eating in restaurants around Italy in the mid 1990s, Marc Vetri discovered these vegetable-based versions of one of his favorite pastas. They inspired him to create a recipe for spinach gnocchi using eggs, bread crumbs, Grana Padano cheese and a little flour; they’re more intensely flavorful than the traditional ricotta kind. Vetri finishes the dish with brown butter and ricotta salata shavings. The gnocchi have been on Vetri Ristorante’s menu since the place opened in 1998, and the only thing that’s changed is the size. “We first made one that looked like a big spinach meatball,” says Vetri. “But guests thought the other pastas were small in comparison. Since then, we’ve served the gnocchi in all sizes, from three large ones to 12 very small ones.” SEE RECIPE »
Lutèce; courtesy of chef André Soltner (wearing toque).
The legendary New York City French restaurant Lutèce closed in 2004, but it will be reborn for one night only, on April 16, to benefit University Settlement. Alsace native André Soltner—now the dean of classic studies at the International Culinary Center—opened Lutèce in 1961, just as America’s obsession with food and cooking was beginning. “When we opened 50 years ago, there were restaurants that served canned or frozen food. We were very focused on the best ingredients you can get,” remembers the pioneering chef. During his 35 years behind the stove, Soltner’s celebrity and flawless classic French cuisine attracted New York’s glitterati and the country’s most respected food lovers, including Julia Child.
Soltner will bring back the spirit of Lutèce by orchestrating an extravagant French wine dinner of iconic dishes such as seafood en croûte and tournedos Rossini: filet mignon with foie gras and Madeira sauce. The cost for entry to this once-in-a-lifetime reboot (with dessert from Jacques Torres) starts at $3,000, which will aid the University Settlement’s many programs aimed at uplifting low-income families and immigrants through education, decent housing, and improving physical and emotional well being. Tickets here.
For those whose interest in the French classics is piqued, we asked Soltner to describe some of the incredibly complex dishes that wowed guests during his restaurant’s prime. “People nowadays think classic French cuisine was heavy, but when it was done the right way then it was not. It was very tasty,” he says. Click through the slideshow to see the Endangered French Classics.